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Rep. John Lewis announces he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer

Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) revealed on Sunday that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

The 79-year-old civil rights icon said he has been "in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now. While I am clear-eyed about my prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance."

Lewis is serving his 17th term in office, and said he will continue to work as he undergoes treatment. "I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God's grace I will be back on the front lines soon," he said.

As a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Lewis participated in several civil rights protests during the 1960s, and police officers fractured his skull after he marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 from former President Barack Obama, who tweeted on Sunday: "If there's one thing I love about [Lewis], it's his incomparable will to fight. I know he's got a lot more of that left in him. Praying for you, my friend."